The matchup: Bears vs. Vikings

• This is a story of two teams in a similar boat. It's similar and not the same because Chicago is 8-4 and Minnesota 6-6 - but both teams have faded after strong starts. The Bears have lost three of four, and the Vikings have lost five of seven. Both teams have been affected by injuries. The Bears' issues are on defense, where NFL interception leader Tim Jennings (8 on the season) and LB Brian Urlacher continue to miss time. The Vikings lost versatile WR Percy Harvin for the rest of the regular season - they've scored more than 20 points twice in the last five games. With the Packers at 8-4, whoever wins this one has the best shot at the playoffs.

Fantasy Gold: Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw

• This guy is a baller - old school and tough as nails. He's the kind of guy on which you pin your fantasy playoff hopes. In 2010, the former seventh-round draft pick developed bone cracks in both feet. They have bothered him ever since. This season, he has rarely practiced - but he has only missed one game. Despite the two bum wheels and that missed game, Bradshaw has 836 yards rushing and another 196 through the air. This week, with his team in need of a win to keep its NFC East lead, he faces the Saints - dead last in rushing defense. Good luck to all you readers in the playoffs!

Numbers game

1, -15, -41,

The Chargers have outscored opponents this season by one point. They are 4-8. The Lions have been outscored by 15 points. They are also 4-8. The Colts have scored 41 fewer points than their opponents this season. They are 8-4.


Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's final rushing total if he maintains his pace (he has 1,446 through 12 games). It would be his best season despite tearing an ACL in the last game of the 2011 season.

30, 39

Combined sacks on the Manning brothers, Eli and Peyton, and the number of times Aaron Rodgers has gone down in 2012.